Time to Turn on the AC

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Record heat this week. Are you ready to run the air conditioner? The good news is you may not have to do anything at all, except switch the power on. The bad news, it may be time for a tune up. If you need a recharge you'll likely be paying more than last time.

According to Justin Anderson of Anderson Heating and Air Conditioning, you don't necessarily have to have your unit serviced after the winter. He says they are built to withstand the elements. He says if you're not getting the cold air you expected after switching it back on, there are a few things to check before calling a technician. First, check the breaker box to see that the unit is getting power. Second, switch your thermostat to cool. If you stand next to the unit, you should hear the fan kick on. Also, be sure to replace your air filters. Dirty filters can block the flow of air making the unit less efficient and more likely to burn out quickly.

After that, if the air coming through the system is less than 18 degrees cooler that the temperature in the room it's time to call for service. A technician will clean your air conditioner and the furnace. They'll also check the level or refrigerant in your system. If you need to have it recharged, expect to pay a little more than you did the last time. "They're changing to a different style of refrigerant that's more ozone friendly," says technician Dennis Saba. "So this refrigerant is being phased out. They're not making it anymore." That scarcity is driving up the price. Saba also suggests having any leaks in the lines repaired before the system is recharged to prevent having to refill it again.

Anderson also services swamp coolers, which are effective and less expensive to install but lack some of the benefits of air conditioning. The units require more maintenance and replacement of parts. They also require winterization. Justin Anderson says they can be especially hard on allergy sufferers because they bring pollen, dust and other elements into the home unlike air conditioners, which recirculate indoor air.

Air Conditioners and Swamp Coolers aren't your only options for cooling off at home.
For a list of times to keep your home comfortable while saving a few dollars, check out the link below.